No one would suspect a conspiracy of its magnitude to have such an inconspicuous origin—in retrospect.
But if Izuku had heeded the concept of retrospect, his arms would have considerably fewer fractures, and well...
As his orthopedic specialist bemoaned, under the ruthless light of an x ray, his arm bones looked like pitted, fragile volcanic rock.
(Whatever. At least Izuku could console himself with the knowledge that the Midoriya family had generously supported Musutafu’s local orthopedic specialist through some difficult financial times.
That was heroic, in a way. Right?)
Nothing about the morning that had an absurd conspiracy theory throwing Izuku into a political comedy was out of the norm.
Like so many weekend mornings around the dorms, 1-A was perched around the common room in various stages of sleepy conversation.
Kyouka was huddled in a loveseat off to the corner with her girlfriend, headphones split down the middle between her and Yaoyozoru. Bakugou, awake before anyone else even on a Saturday, had already returned from his morning run, showered, and prepared a full breakfast. As always, he made it clear he didn’t plan on sharing: he held his bowl close to his chest and shoveled eggs aggressively into his frowning mouth.
Mina and Kaminari sat across from him at the wide dining table. They were swinging their feet in leashed chaotic energy, eyes glinting down greedily at Bakugou’s food, while Kirishima rattled off a string of ideas for the class for the afternoon.
Izuku shared one of the low tables with Todoroki, Uraraka and Iida. Spread out in front of them, their notes splayed in messy piles, were their desperate attempts at documenting Present Mic’s latest lecture. The four of them regarded the papers with careful trepidation.
Despite their best efforts, the words in front of them were still in Japanese. Uraraka seemed to be practicing the method of ‘glaring at the words to translate them.’ It was an interesting concept—Izuku was vaguely sure there was a politician with that quirk.
With an exaggerated sigh, Uraraka flopped backward, arms thrown wide across the floor. “Ughhh, Iida-kun,” she whined. “I thought you were supposed to be the studious one.”
That was a little harsh, Izuku thought, but secretly agreed. He snuck a glance at Iida, who was just a bit pink-cheeked.
“We should all be equally studious!” he argued. “We have a prestigious reputation to uphold. Of course, I haven’t had the chance to review Friday’s lesson quite yet, and, ah. Friday English classes are…”
“Unstructured,” Izuku offered. Iida nodded.
“Of course, I cannot, as a student, critique Present Mic-sensei’s teaching methods. And I am not critiquing! But Fridays…”
Iida trailed off, torn between solidarity with his peers and his adherence to propriety. He was sitting strictly seiza, unwilting even despite his embarrassment under the despairing gaze of Uraraka.
Izuku couldn’t help but blurt out the relevant info dump sticking to his tongue. “I think it’s because Friday nights are when Present Mic-sensei has his most popular segment on his radio show! He hypes himself up throughout the day so that he’s extra enthusiastic for his guests and his listeners, you know, Friday nights are when he hits his highest ratings! So it makes sense, doesn’t it, for him to be a little overzealous throughout the day.”
He caught his voice starting to rise throughout his spiel, and, with practiced restraint, clapped his mouth shut on the ideas that threatened to keep pouring out. Iida and Uraraka stared at him with familiar slight confusion and uneven smiles. Even across the room, Bakugou audibly scoffed, clearly having overheard him. Izuku flushed.
Nothing about this morning was out of the ordinary for the 1-A dorms. In all likelihood, it would have passed by like any other, fading into obscurity in the class’ memory, but Izuku had to go and continue opening his mouth.
In his defense, he didn’t want to leave things to an embarrassed silence.
With a short laugh, Izuku ducked his head, a hand rising to the back of his neck. “Ah, well, I also find his Friday lectures kind of hard to follow, Iida-kun. Although, I’m not great at English anyways.”
A shift of color out of the corner of his right eye caught Izuku’s attention. Todoroki had shifted from his lazy, half cross leg, half seiza posture that he always ended up falling into. He picked at one of the sheets of his notes on the table. He managed to make idly playing with paper look thoughtful and handsome.
“I thought you would be good at English,” he said casually.
Izuku blinked. That he would have such expectations was flattering, albeit unexpected.“Ah, thank you! But why English?”
“I bet Todoroki-kun knows way more English than us,” Uraraka mumbled. She managed not to sound too bitter.
(Generally speaking, she restrained her ‘goddamn rich kids’ rants to after 7 pm. For civility’s sake.)
Todoroki gave a slight, brief shake of his head. Somehow, he maintained his elegance even when his mismatched hair stuck to his face. “My English is alright,” he allowed. “My father used it a lot growing up, since he wanted to be known internationally. And All Might is fluent in English, so my old man had to be, too.”
Iida gestured energetically, hands chopping in agreement.
“Certainly, that makes sense! My brother was focused on our precinct, so he never prioritized international languages. Of course the number two hero of our nation would need to know English.”
“Yeah.” Todoroki nodded at Iida in acknowledgement, then turned his calm stare onto Izuku. “Anyway, that’s why I thought you would be good at English. All Might uses it all the time. He used to live in the US, right?”
“He did!” Izuku agreed cheerfully, before he caught onto the rest of that sentence and— “Wait, uh, just because All Might knows English doesn’t mean I would know English, Todoroki-kun.”
He could resist talking about All Might. If he had to.
The other boy gave a slight hum. “I guess I thought, since you’ve known All Might so long, you would hear a lot of English.”
A laugh from across the room carried over, the universal sound of joy at a friend’s expense. Izuku flushed red, hands flapping in nerves.
“Todoroki-kun,” he whined, “I’ve told you. I- I’ve only known All Might since this year at UA!”
That was hardly a concession. Izuku flailed. “He’s not my dad!”
Uraraka laughed, shoving Izuku in a wide flat stretch across the table. “Stop trying to deny it, Deku-kun! We’ve seen you two together.”
Kaminari—sat at the dining table with Bakugou, and the source of the prior laughter—pointed an accusing finger in Izuku’s direction, hand gripped awkwardly around his chopsticks. Noodles hung from his utensils. Bakugou, to his left, looked at his lack of manners in disgust.
“Yeah, Deku,” Kaminari called, “that’s some familial energy if I’ve ever seen it. He looks like he wants to ruffle your hair and call you ‘my boy’ whenever you answer a question right.”
“He does call him ‘my boy’ a lot, huh?” Kirishima mused. He sounded way too serious for the topic at hand.
“He fuckin’ calls all the guys in class ’my boy,’” Bakugou grumbled. He dug into his plate with unrivaled aggression. “That doesn’t mean shit, you idiots.”
Nodding frantically, Izuku turned his wide, desperate eyes back on Todoroki in hope. He’d been told they worked miracles.
Todoroki blinked. He was perpetually immune to feedback from the rest of the class: be it encouragement or flak, his expression was eternally placid. And it didn’t help that he absolutely enjoyed testing Bakugou’s patience. “Yeah,” he said. “He does call everyone that. But actually, I don’t think All Might is his dad any more. I just think they got to know each other prior to UA.”
For a very short moment, Izuku allowed himself to hope. Maybe, just maybe, Todoroki could be convinced to drop his theories entirely.
“Aww, Todoroki-kun,” Uraraka said. She was pouting, like she was personally invested in Todoroki’s prior theory. “What happened! You were the first one to really start the ‘Deku is All Might’s Illegitimate Child’ conspiracy.”
“You’re basically club president, dude,” Kaminari agreed. He’d set his breakfast down and crossed his arms, frowning at Todoroki. “As the unofficial president of the unofficial Illegitimate All Might Lovechild club, you can’t just give up on the dream. What about the rest of us?”
“Rest of us?” Izuku squeaked. He glanced frantically around the room, and to his horror Uraraka, Mina, and Kirshima all nodded. Iida didn’t nod, but he did look slightly flustered, and he refused to look directly in Izuku’s direction. For Iida, it was essentially an admission of collusion.
Izuku couldn’t help but feel betrayed, just a bit.
“How many...who else was in this club?!”
“Don’t worry, Deku! It wasn’t, like, an official club,” Uraraka consoled, as if any sort of club dedicated to his parentage, official or otherwise, could be anything other than utterly mortifying.
“Tsuyu-chan’s in the club,” Mina offered helpfully. “So is Shinsou-kun, although he hasn’t attended any of the meetings yet.”
“Dude, what! There were meetings?” Kirishima swiveled to Mina, tone despairing. He gripped at his shirt and leaned into her side. “I didn’t know we were meeting!”
“I wasn’t aware we had any meetings, either,” Todoroki said. There was the slightest inflection of hurt in his voice, the Todoroki equivalent to shouting in misery.
Was he feeling left out of the club he had, apparently, founded? Could it really be considered his club if he never attended?
Better yet: why was Izuku mentally considering any of these concepts?
Mina shoved Kirishima out of her space, a mischievous grin on her face. “That was a joke, a joke! We haven’t had any meetings.”
“Ah,” Todoroki said. “That’s good. I would have been a bad club president, otherwise.” He paused. “Well, I suppose I’ll be a bad club president right now, since I am officially stepping down as the unofficial president of the Midoriya is All Might’s Illegitimate Lovechild club.”
“Nooo,” Uraraka moaned. It was hard to take seriously, but her tone was concerningly genuine. She swatted Todoroki on the arm with four fingers, to avoid sending him floating away. “Don’t leave us, Todoroki-kuuun!”
Kirishima sniffed. Izuku could only hope those weren’t tears in his eyes. “Sad to see you go, dude. But it’s definitely manly to follow your beliefs!”
All the everyone-please-focus-on-Midoriya conversation seemed to be straining Bakugou’s already short and frayed social fuse. Sparks fell from where his hands gripped his fork.
Despite himself, Izuku couldn’t help but ask. Todoroki had, after all, been the first one to ever bring up the idea to his face, and apparently the first one to announce his theory to the rest of their class , oh god, so hearing that he had abandoned the All Might Parentage Theory was a surprise.
How was he to know that he was handing Todoroki the wood with which to build his coffin.
“You don’t think All Might is my d...dad anymore, Todoroki-kun?” He couldn’t even say it without tripping over his own tongue; the very concept was a grade school dream spoken aloud, and it was profoundly embarrassing now that he actually knew the man.
God forbid All Might actually hears the theory. That would, he was absolutely certain, make this the worst timeline.
(If he had known what would come from all of this, he wouldn’t have jinxed it, even in his head.)
Todoroki hummed in consideration. “I did think that,” he agreed. “At the time it made the most sense that All Might was your father. But now, given your multiple quirks—”
“I just- it’s still just one quirk! My quirk is just weird!” Izuku protested weakly. No one seemed to acknowledge it.
“—given your multiple quirks, in combination to your relationship with All Might,” Todoroki continued, monotone, mercilessly objective , as Kaminari watched on in increasingly wide-eyed delight, “it makes more sense for his enemy from Kamino to be your father. The one with a lot of quirks.”
The group at large gave this statement the hefty silence it deserved. Izuku felt his jaw hang loosely.
Mentally, Izuku swore at Blackwhip; why did the past One for All users have to have such obnoxious , conspicuous quirks?
“He and All Might obviously knew each other,” Todoroki continued, like the phrase ‘they knew each other’ was at all a fitting description of the number one hero’s decades-long, gore-filled crusade against a powerful enemy. “Plus, you seemed to have an idea of who the villain was when we arrived at Kamino. You looked like you were ready to stand and confront him.
“Back before you arrived at UA, All Might must have recognized the gravity of your situation, and your heroic spirit. So he helped you escape him and apply to UA.”
On some level, Izuku couldn’t help but admire the thought Todoroki had put into the (absolutely insane) conspiracy. It was convoluted, it held kernels of truth, and it was scandalous.
On every other conceivable level, he couldn’t help but want to burst into tears at what his life had become.
Bakugou, naturally, broke the room’s straining, painful quiet.
“What the fuck,” he said. His teeth were gritted and his hands were smoking. If Izuku hadn’t known him for so long, he’d be afraid he was going to melt his spoon. “First All Might’s his fuckin’ dad, but then that’s not convenient any more, so his greatest enemy is your second guess? Why the fuck would All Might hang around that dickhead’s kid?”
Kaminari, however, grabbed the branch Todoroki was dangling and pulled the whole tree up from the roots. The delight that glowed on his face seemed to trigger an extension of his quirk—an effect Izuku would have, in any other circumstances, found very interesting—and the hair on his head and his eyebrows were standing on end, like static on a balloon pulling all the blond strands on his head afloat.
“Oh, you’re onto something, man! Of course All Might would watch over his enemy’s kid, to make sure, right? But then, then he saw Midoriya-kun’s hero spirit and his super strong quirks, and he must’ve been like, ‘ This will be just like Star Wars!’”
It wasn’t a terrible All Might impression. That made it worse.
Izuku moaned into the palm of his hand in despair. “What does that even mean, Kaminari-kun?!”
“What, you’ve never seen Star Wars?”
“ That’s not the issue!” Then, barely a mutter: “Of course I’ve seen Star Wars. It’s All Might’s favorite series.”
Kirishima seemed torn between consoling Bakugou’s steaming rage and joining Kaminari in the pure joy of what was undoubtedly the most unrestrained thesis that Class 1-A had created to date. In the end, Izuku guessed, it was too tempting not to throw himself into the jubilation.
“That is a good theory, huh,” he said, smiling tentatively in Todoroki’s direction. “That’s just like All Might, right? He wouldn’t leave a super sweet and strong kid with a crazy villain. So manly.”
“—does that make All Might Yoda, though?” Mina mused.
“No way, he’s too tall! He’d be Obi Wan.”
Hand rising in a desisting gesture, Iida cut off the conversation between the three. “While it is a very interesting and well-constructed theory, we need to stay respectful of All Might-sensei! Regardless of if he valiantly rescued Midoriya-kun from his father’s grasp, he is first and foremost our teacher! We shouldn’t be speculating so much over his personal life and comparing him to fictional characters.”
“Deku-kun said All Might liked Star Wars, Iida.”
Iida hesitated briefly at this comment. Took it into quick consideration. “Regardless, this sensational story is the emotional past of our teacher. We need to be considerate.”
At that, well. The way Iida was talking, they were ready to take this dubious idea and hold it up as codified theory. Izuku wasn’t going to let this keep going.
“This isn’t—no!” he cried. He stood up, glancing around frantically at his friends in desperation. “There is no past. Todoroki-kun, you were convinced that All Might was my father not even three months ago. You all can’t really be considering that All for On e is my dad!”
There was an unusually sharp glint in Todoroki’s eyes. “His name is All for One? That name hasn’t been published in the media. I wonder how you know it.”
A lightbulb near Kaminari popped out from the force of his beaming grin, though it was drowned out by the popping sounds made by Bakugou’s clenched hands. He had stood to his feet and was scowling, teeth gritted.
“You’re all talking about shit you don’t fuckin’ understand. Don’t drag All Might into this paternity test garbage. He’s got enough to fucking deal with.”
“Does he?” Mina asked innocently. “He’s retired now, though.”
Bakugou didn’t grace that comment with a response. He’d shoved his chair back into the table and had moved to the kitchen, where he took up a washrag with restrained, passive aggressive gusto. Apparently he had one last comment in him, since, as he turned the faucet on full blast, he shouted back to the group:
“Also, I’ve met Deku’s fuckin’ dad when we were little brats! I think I’d remember if his old man was a goddamn supervillain, especially since the villain fuckin’ kidnapped me!”
Kirishima, Mina, and Kaminari all quieted at that, faces taking on the embarrassed quality of someone who accidentally brought up a sore subject.
Social graces were never enough to stop Todoroki.
“He was wearing a mask, though,” he argued plainly.
“His face was pretty messed up, huh,” Uraraka mused. She held her chin between her thumb and pointer finger. “I bet that was from All Might, too. Maybe when All Might met him before, when he was rescuing Deku-kun…”
Todoroki nodded in agreement. His gaze was directed in a distant stare at the table, like he was focused on committing these ideas to memory.
Apparently decency and shame had relinquished their hold on the three at the other table, because, with a quick glance to make sure that Bakugou was out of range and absorbed with demolishing dishes, Kaminari strolled over to Izuku’s table and dropped the the group next to Todoroki.
He clapped a hand to Todoroki’s shoulder with a sage nod. “Club prez has me convinced now, guys. I propose we rename our club to, uh… What was his name, Deku?”
“All for One,” Izuku mumbled, since the secret was already out of the bag. This situation had run away from him at top speed. Still. “But. I cannot stress enough how much he is not my father. ”
From the table across the room, Mina pointed a demanding finger in Izuku’s direction. “Mido-kun, what’s your dad’s name?”
“Occupation and the last time you saw him?”
“Ah, well, he’s a salaryman, and I think he left Japan around when I turned five…But he called me on the phone all the time until I was about 9.”
With a thoughtful humm, Mina tapped her finger against her lips in thought. Izuku refused to feel like this was an interrogation: the two of them were having a, a conversation. “And your mom’s?” she asked.
“...the ability to attract small objects.” He cut off her protests before she could go further than opening her mouth. “But there are plenty of cases where children develop completely different quirks than their parents!”
Kaminari was shaking his head sadly, his hand patting against where it was clasped on Tokoroki’s shoulder. Sat next to him and mildly perturbed, Todoroki didn’t seem to know what to do with the physical contact.
“I dunno, man,” Kaminari said. “Your quirks, the vanishing, the adoptive mentor-dad vibes from All Might, it’s all adding up for me.” He shrugged. “Guess we’re gonna have to change the club name.”
Futilely, Izuku glanced between the spread out group. All of them were wearing similar expressions of determination and delight, like they’d uncovered some great conspiracy. This had gone further than just running away from him, he realized. This had full-on taken flight.
This could be...bad, right?
This was bad, right?
“I have to go,” Izuku blurted awkwardly. Papers were unceremoniously scooped into his backpack, and he fired off a text to All Might. Belatedly, he hoped that the text in question didn’t send his mentor into an aneurysm.
“Aww, Deku-kun,” Uraraka said. She frowned up sadly at him. “We didn’t mean to upset you. Do you not want us to mention it around you again?”
I don’t want you to mention it at all, Izuku thought to himself, mildly hysteric. I don’t want you to think about it at all.
“It’s fine,” he bit out. Hm, that came out too confrontational. He needed to be more casual, like he wasn’t helplessly invested in this conversation. With a forced smile that must have been more concerning than intended, based on Todoroki’s startled reaction, he continued, “Really, it’s fine! Feel, uh, feel free to talk about whatever you want! It’s not like All Might and I are hiding anything,” he rambled with a dumb laugh.
Up at his shoulders, his hands gripped tightly to the straps of his backpack. He was shuffling backward, feet ready to pull him out of the situation and take him to his aforementioned mentor. “I’ll see you all later, okay?”
Without waiting to hear a reply, Izuku hurried off. His heartbeat was loud in his ears, embarrassment warming his face, but it was important he faced this issue now rather than later. If One for All had any more obnoxious quirks hiding for him to uncover….
Well. He’d rather everyone think All Might was his dad.
If his stubbornly conspiratorial class could just stick to that theory, things would be sure to settle down.